Illinois lawmaker files bill to end automatic pay raises for legislators

Illinois pay raises
State Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) recently filed legislation to eliminate automatic legislator pay raises. (Friends of Mike Murphy courtesy photo)

SPRINGFIELD (The Center Square) — A state lawmaker has filed a bill to end automatic pay hikes for state legislators.

Every year, lawmakers must vote to freeze their own pay, or it goes up according to the statute. In 2019, lawmakers left that language out of the budget and got raises of about $1,600 a year.

State Rep. Mike Murphy’s bill would remove the automatic cost-of-living adjustments and require lawmakers to vote for legislative pay hikes.

“We’re one of the better compensated General Assemblies in the country,” he said. “If we’re willing to take a raise, we should have the fortitude and the guts to be on record voting for that.”

Starting pay for Illinois lawmakers was just under $70,000 after the latest raises took effect, not counting stipends for leadership positions or per diem pay, health insurance coverage, and a pension worth 85 percent of their final pay after 20 years.

That pay package makes Illinois legislators the fifth-highest paid in the country, behind Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and California.

Murphy said it’s technically a part-time job, although some lawmakers, including him, work full-time hours.

“We’re not in session every day, but we’re not [always] out doing constituent work,” he said.

Murphy filed the same bill in 2019, but it never advanced.

Reporting by Cole Lauterbach

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